The centuries between 1100 and 1500 were the crucible in which English language and literature, after the blow of the Norman Conquest, were reformed with results that affected all later times. The national language and literary culture were reconstructed influences. The medieval centuries present a fascinating success story of recovery, inventiveness and major achievement in all aspects of national life.
In literature, lyric verse, narrative poetry, drama and discursive prose were all established in characteristic modes. In the present book many works are discussed, while such masterpieces as the works of Chaucer, Langland's Piers Plowman, the poems of the Gawain-poet and Malory's Morte Darthur are shown as the secular equivalent in words of the great medieval Gothic cathedrals. The forms of this varied body of literature had as characteristic a period style as contemporary Gothic art and architecture themselves. English literature may equally be described as Gothic, with assumptions and achievements which both lead to and contrast with later Neoclassical styles. Black and white photographic illustrations further the comparison and suggest some background.
English Gothic literature derives from many interrelated social context - court, town, monastery and countryside. It was recorded in manuscripts that blend the qualities of popular speech and folktale with some of the more impersonal regular qualities of printing, that last of fundamental medieval inventions. In this new concept of the history of medieval literature, Derek Brewer illuminates the major literary works with detailed exposition to make them available to the reader coming fresh to them. At the same time he places them in the context of developing literacy and individualism, secular realism, romantic love, personal religion, etc., setting forth a coherent framework of cultural history which will challenge the interest of those who already know the period.
'He is excellent on the style of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight...and conveys well the relationship of Middle English Literature to Old English and to the Renaissance.' - S.S. Hussey, The Times Higher Education Supplement
Acknowledgements Editor's Preface Preface PART 1: CONTINUITIES AND BEGINNINGS Invasion The Anglo-Saxon Literary Achievement Social and Religious Bases of Literature Layamon's Brut: Almost an English National Epic PART 2: THE INNER LIFE Spiritual Instruction as Literature English Recluses: Christina and Wulfric The Ancrene Riwle: Manuscripts and Author Other Devotional Texts PART 3: THE QUESTION OF SONG The Owl and the Nightingale The Bestiary as an Example of the Archaic World-view Anecdotal Didactic Poems and the Church's Educational Effort PART 4: THE QUESTION OF SONG - LYRICS, SHORT POEMS, BALLADS Early Poems: Men Speaking Plainly to Men The Love Rune and Religious Love Other Gothic Manuscript Miscellanies and Various Poems Fifteenth-century Religious and Secular Poems Appendix: The Ballards PART 5: ADVENTURE AND LOVE: ROMANCES IN RHYME King Horn: An Archetypal Romance Havelok and Grimsby Floris and Blancheflue and Romantic Love Fabliau and Beast Fable Sir Orfeo and the Auchinleck Manuscript Fourtheenth-century Arthurian Rhyming Romances Fifteenth-century Romances PART 6: CHAUCER The Book of the Duchess and the English and European Literature Traditions Medieval Romantic Love in English Le Roman de la Rose: Guillaume Le Roman de la Rose: Jean de Meung An ABC Chaucher's Life and Personality The House of Fame The Parliament of Fowls The Consolation of Philosophy Troilus and Criseyde: The Story The Knight's Tale The Legend of Good Women The Canterbury Tales Archaic and Modern in Chaucer PART 7: CHAUCER'S FRIENDS AND FOLLOWERS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND Gower, Clanvowe, Scogan Lydgate Hoccleve and Others Scottish Chaucerians PART 8: ALLITERATIVE POETRY Wynnere and Wastoure The Parliament of the Thre Ages Alliterative Romances Historical Poems PART 9: THE GWAIN-POET Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: The Story Pearl: The Story Cleanness: The Story Patience: The Story St Erkenwald The Gawain-poet and his Milieu The Fading of the Alliterative Chivalric Tradition PART 10: PIERS PLOWMAN Medieval Provincial Culture and the Desire for Salvation The A-test of Piers Plowman: The Story The B-text The C-text Poetry Based on Association Allegory Piers Plowmann as Spiritual Authobiography The Materials of the Poem The Absorption of the Alliterative Tradition A Note on Allegory and Typology PART 11: DRAMA The Nature of Drama The Beginnings of European and English Religious Drama Early Plays in England The Fourtheenth-century Growth of Drama Developing Biblical Dramas Varieities of Dramatic Experience Morality Plays The Secular Play Dux Moraud The Miracle Plays PART 12: Later Religious Prose The Nature of Prose The Cloud of Unknowing Walter Hilton Julian of Norwich Margery Kempe The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ The Lollard Bible and Sermons and Tracts Saints' Legends Expository Prose Fifteenth-century Consolidation and Religous Anti-intellectualism PART 13: SECULAR PROSE: MALORY AND CAXTON Translation and the Development of Prose for Practical Purposes Malory's Le Morte Darthur Caxton PART 14: The Re-making of English The Demotion of English The Continuity of English 'Old', 'Middle' and 'Modern' English The Written Form of the Language Development and Variation of Forms Development of the English Vocabulary: French Words The Direct Relation of Latin to English Fifteenth-century English: A Summary Further Reading Chronological Table Index
Series: MacMillan History of Literature
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 10th March 1983
Publisher: SPRINGER VERLAG GMBH
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 14.0
Weight (kg): 0.42
Edition Number: 1